Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Star Stomp and Other Christmas Adventures! December 7, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 7:19 pm

We are only one week into December… but if I recap the whole week for you, it will seem like we’ve lived an entire month in seven days! The big focus on the week was Star Stomp, our church Christmas musical. Friday evening was practice for the kids with solos and drama parts. Graham got to spend a special evening with Nana and Papa while the rest of us worked on the production. I did my final role as a “substitute star” on Friday night. I was able to practice my backstage role at Saturday’s dress rehearsal so I was ready for Sunday morning. We had some family members come on Saturday to watch the dress rehearsal and that made it extra special. Sunday’s performances were amazing! The kids did the best they’ve ever done! Owen did a fantastic job as Lil G and Graham was a super star in the choir!

Over the last week, we’ve seen snowflakes most day and even had some accumulation from time to time. Sunday morning was a slow drive into church since the roads were snowy and icy. Usually, I stay home if there is snow on the road (even a dusting), but the kids had to get to the musical… soI did it. I was nervous the whole way, but we made it! Sunday afternoon into the evening, the snow came back and started to stick. Again, we had another snowy drive down to the church. This time for a Christmas party and lucky for me, Jeremy was behind the wheel for this drive.

Tuesday was our second Christmas party of the month. This time with our co-op friends. I put together 30 gift bags filled with fidget toys and sweet treats for a Left/Right game. The kids had a blast passing the gifts right and left with the silly story I read about Santa losing his toy sack. Mr. & Mrs. Claus were surprise guests at our party. I wasn’t sure if we were going to make a Santa picture happen this year, so it was nice the opportunity came up with no effort from me. The boys requested LEGO Super Mario sets from Santa (which is no shock). We wrapped up the party with a Secret Santa gift exchange. Graham got a dragon egg that hatches and grows in water. My countertop in now Baby Dragon Command Center. Very fascinating stuff.

This week I’ve tackled my Christmas cards and got them to the mail. I also wrapped almost all of our Christmas presents. Our shopping is mostly complete except for a few small things. I’m feeling good about the Christmas to-do list. If parties, productions, and projects weren’t keeping us busy enough, our church is also hosting a scavenger hunt the entire month of December. In the midst of our commitments, our family is completing holiday challenges in the scavenger hunt app. We’re doing the best we can, but we’re currently in 10th place. We’ll need to up our game soon!

So here’s the stats – two musical practices, two musical performances, two Christmas parties, multiple days with snow, Christmas cards out, Christmas wrapping mostly done… this week has been a LOT! The good news is the rest of the month mellows out now. We have some Christmas plans and traditions to make happen, but it shouldn’t be such a mad dash. We are ready to rest up and enjoy a bit of Christmas vacation right around the corner!

Making mini-snowmen for the Scavenger Hunt. Yes, he is barefoot and crazy! Good thing we weren’t out for long.
So proud of all the hard work these two put into Star Stomp! Such a memorable choir experience!
This musical had so many fun elements like star glasses and gloves that react to black light. For one song the kids did motions with light tubes and for another song we had ribbon dancers.
Snapped a pic on the monitor of my hubby rapping while I worked backstage.
Ready for our co-op Christmas party! Santa hats, Christmas shirts, jingle bells – check!
Gotta wear my Christmas sweater as much as I can this month!
Such a fun surprise to have Santa and Mrs. Claus at our Christmas party!
Taught the boys how to make paper snowflakes today as a part of the scavenger hunt. Owen made two, Graham made six… I made…
I made a dozen paper snowflakes. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I forgot how much fun they are to make!
 

December Arrived with a Flurry December 1, 2022

December arrived with a flurry! A flurry of snow that is! As I write this post a light dusting of snow is melting in my yard. I’m a little sad there wasn’t more, but I’ll happily enjoy whatever snow we get. Ever since Monday, we’ve seen snowflakes falling throughout the day. I love looking out the window as the flurries fall. The end of November has also been a flurry – a flurry of activity!!!

Where to start? On Wednesday, the 22nd, we decorated the house for Christmas. Jeremy worked a half day and since our Thanksgiving weekend was full to the brim, this seemed like the best time to make the merriment happen. Decorating the house is almost a holiday in itself for our family. We sipped hot apple cider and listened to Christmas music while adding Christmas cheer all over. The boys select an ornament each year and it’s no surprise that they chose Luigi and Yoshi from Nintendo Super Mario. We added a Mario ornament to our big tree and I just ordered a Grinch ornament today because our family (specifically Graham) has an obsession with the Grinch this year.

We spent most of Thanksgiving Day with Jeremy’s family. We enjoyed good food, a bunco tournament (I won so many prizes for being the biggest loser), and yard games. We finished the day with an untraditional pizza dinner with my parents. The rest of the holiday weekend was filled with family, friends, and shopping. We hosted a sleepover with some of the cousins Friday into Saturday. We had friends over for dinner on Sunday. We hosted a play date on Monday. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had company over five days in a row. Wow! I got the baulk of the Christmas shopping done online with Black Friday sales and we visited a few stores Saturday afternoon. I’m feeling very good about where my Christmas shopping is at now. Even though November wasn’t over, I was starting to feel behind!

Sunday was Christmas musical practice and the start of Advent. The church calendar is running our lives at this moment! Owen had drama practice for the musical last night and he’ll have another practice tomorrow. Saturday is a dress rehearsal for the whole choir and then Sunday is showtime! I’m so excited to see Owen and Graham preform in their first Christmas musical. I’m so proud of the whole team – kids and leaders alike. It’s been a wild ride! It will be neat to see it all come together on Sunday.

I taught a Christmas cookie decorating class on Tuesday for our homeschool co-op. It went so well (considering I didn’t know what to expect). I provided all the decorating supplies and the students brought cookies to frost. I let the group know in advance what cookies I would be demonstrating so they could bring similar cookies to class. These kids focused intently on their decorating and their cookies turned out amazing. Our co-op could open a bakery! I loved listening to Christmas music play on my portable speaker while kids creatively decorated cookie after cookie. Our boys were worn out after the big weekend, so I kept them home from the cookie class. When I got home, we pulled out all the supplies and did mini-version of the class with our family.

That sums up the flurry of activity we’ve had this last week. We are headed into another big weekend with the Christmas musical right around the corner. I love how fun and festive the activities are this time of year. After a busy season for our family, I’m also looking forward to slowing down and savoring the season over the next few weeks! Happy first day of December!

Making the house merry and bright!
The Christmas season is officially here!
Graham is a whole Christmas vibe!
The Start of Advent
Prepping for my cookie class on Monday night. I had plenty of frosting left over, but better safe than sorry!
Snapshots from Tuesday’s cookie adventures!
Studying the layers of the Earth this week.
Not a bad way to start December! Let it snow!
 

1,001 November 16, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 8:07 pm

I apparently missed a milestone. My last post was my 1,000th on Amy Scott’s Thoughts! Woo hoo! WordPress notified me after the post was officially published. I’ve been blogging for over a decade, but I wasn’t keeping track of my post total. So, there you go. Here’s my 1,001st blog post! That can be a milestone too? Right? I’m going to claim it. Let’s celebrate!

While this blog started with intentions of bring brilliant (ha ha) and strategic with my posts… it’s definitely morphed with time. A decade ago (before kids when I had more brain cells), I hoped to share deep thoughts about life and ministry. Now, it’s mostly family updates and the occasional book-related post. I love sharing our family adventures and I love writing about books. Someday, I could see myself fully committing to the book blogging scene. Currently, I’m not hemming myself in, though. I don’t want to stick to one topic. I want all the options… which is why I post about homeschooling, baking, reading, travels, and the ordinary, everyday stuff of life. This blog is a bright spot in my week. It might not make me internet-famous, but it does make me happy. That’s all that matters. I hope it brings a little joy to you, too.

So, what’s been happening this week? This weekend was quite full… All good things, just a lot of things. I met up with a friend locally for hot chocolate on Friday morning. We caught up on life over holiday drinks at Starbucks. Friend time + a red cup = a happy Amy! I also drove up north to have “linner” (aka dinner at 3pm) at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse with my forever friend, Maggie. Two fun friend experiences in one day was a rare treat! Saturday, our family helped a family member move. It was a full day of moving boxes, organizing, and building furniture. I was very proud of my boys. They were super helpful! Sunday morning was spent at church practicing for the Christmas musical. Owen has his lines all memorized and he rocks his solo every time. I’m so excited to see him perform in December. He has worked so hard! Graham, too! Graham smiles from the front row of the choir. He has every song memorized and is super focused when it comes to doing the motions. It’s sweet to watch them shine! Sunday afternoon, we had family over to prepare for hunting season and they stayed for dinner. It was a big weekend, but full of good times with great people!

You’ll see pictures below of the ordinary moments from this last week. Baking projects, science experiments, puzzles, collecting wooly worms on walks… I’m so thankful the quieter days when we are home – doing school, hanging out, just being together. The weather is cold!!! I busted out the flannel sheets on Monday. I’m bundling up everyday for afternoon walks in the cold sunshine. The chill in the air makes being tucked inside feel extra cozy, like a safe haven. I just love ordinary days. I can appreciate a busy weekend, but I’m all for a slow week at home! It’s a good balance!

Owen asked for cake. So I made cake. It’s not too hard to twist my arm.
Pizza and pizookies at BJ’s are becoming a tradition of ours!
Such helpful movers! They think U-Haul trucks are the coolest!
A refresher on pollination with a pipe cleaner insect.
This was the first of three puzzles we did on Monday. Apparently, Monday had a puzzle vibe.
Fall art with oil pastels. Owen went a bit abstract on us…
Bring on flannel sheet season!
Graham bundled up to join me for a walk this week. He collected a wooly worm along the way.
 

Feels Like November November 9, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 1:39 pm

We had an unseasonably warm October and it messed with my head a bit. When the weather clears and I go outside, I’m shocked that it’s in the low 40s and not in the 70s. I keep reminding myself that it’s November. This is what November is supposed to feel like.

Along with the cooler temperatures, we’ve had our first blustery day and power outage. Friday, it poured all day long! Our plans to run errands seemed foolish. We should have taken a boat to the stores instead of our van. Friday night, after we were all tucked into bed, the power went out. Apparently, the wind picked up after the rain. Our kids don’t sleep well when the power goes out. The boys ended up sleeping in our bedroom on the floor. It was a family adventure! I’m left wondering why the power mostly goes out at night?!?! Why not in the morning or afternoon when our sleep isn’t interrupted?

Two very special celebrations happened last week. Thursday was the end of our first quarter of school. The boys selected grabber toys as their quarterly reward and they were thrilled with something new to play with. They’ve discovered the grabbers are especially handy for retrieving items under the couch. Thursday was also Red Cup Day where Starbucks switches to their holiday drink cups. Red Cup Day is a holiday in our family. Every year we make our way to Starbucks to celebrate. The boys and I got drinks and treats and then we made a special delivery to Jeremy at work.

Our big family focus right now is the Christmas musical at church. We have less than a month until the performances! Owen was given the part of “Lil G” (the angel Gabriel). He has both a singing solo and a speaking part. We are very excited for him! Our days are spent practicing his lines and every van ride has the practice CD blaring. Being a part of kid’s choir is new for me as well as the boys. It’s been a fun experience for all of us!

I’m still sort of in denial that it’s November, but the weather keeps reminding me we are here. I’ve pulled out my snowflake dishes (since it’s cold enough). We’ve started listening to Christmas music (not just the musical). I enjoy all the autumn vibes of November – it’s cold outside and cozy inside. I love preparing for Christmas. I’ve never had a conflict with Thanksgiving and Christmas. I embrace them equally in November. It’s a good feeling!

Read Cup Day Special Delivery
Enjoying some special treats
Wrapping up the quarter with a science project. Owen’s temperate deciduous forest biome.
Graham had a blast bowling with Jeremy and his church buddies on Sunday afternoon. Sadly, Owen had a 24 hour tummy bug, so we stayed home to rest. Cold/flu season is the worst!
Learning about the water cycle with Graham. Science experiments are the highlight of the school week.
 

Welcome November November 2, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Getting Creative,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 6:33 pm

The start of November always feels like a finish line to me. October is my favorite month of the year, without a doubt. October is also a very full month for our family. After wrapping up birthday month and a major ministry event (Fall Fest on Halloween), I feel like taking a deep breath when November arrives. We did it! We had all the fun! We went big! We gave it our all! It was good! And now it’s November! *Sigh* My husband pointed out that November is equally “big” in it’s own right, but before the November pace picks up, I’m just going to enjoy this moment.

October actually ended a little quieter than we expected. Jeremy got a cold over the weekend, so we hunkered down at home to rest. With a big event on Monday night, we needed to be pro-active in the recovery department. I was sad to cancel our very fun plans with friends, but it was good to dedicate two full days to resting. It was time well spent.

We always end October with a bang. A big part of children’s ministry is event planning. Jeremy knows how to throw a party (with help, of course). The theme for our annual Fall Fest was Galaxy Adventures (outer space). The whole building and all the activities revolved around this out-of-this-world theme. It was nice to move this event indoors again after two years of shifting for the pandemic (we did a drive-thru event in 2020 and an outdoor event in 2021). Our kids had a blast and even dressed on theme with their costumes (astronaut costumes we recycled from 2020 – Owen’s barely fit, oops). The black light room was a favorite and Owen enjoyed helping Nana & Papa hand out prizes at the prize wheel. Almost 300 kids attended, so I would say that was quite some party! Way to go, Jeremy (and team)!

November 1st is always a bit of a recovery day. We’re all tired from the big day and late night. Yesterday, we had co-op and Owen had piano lessons, but all I really wanted to do was hibernate! Thankfully, we had a very chill evening last night and we’re starting to come out of the holiday haze! And there you have it. October is in the rearview mirror and November is staring us down. Ready, set, go!

Family game night. Qwixx is the game of choice right now. Owen got it for his birthday and is obsessed!
Candy corn blondies are a holiday tradition!
Space Panda (?!) Amy with her astronauts!
We weren’t quite sure what Jeremy was – NASA personnel? Engineer? Tech person? Maybe we should call him the Command Leader.
Enjoying the themed games in the black light room.
The show must go on. No matter how tired, we did school on Tuesday morning. Here is Graham’s science experiment – making a cloud!
 

The Many Adventures of October! October 23, 2022

October is such a fun month for our family! Our adventures this week included a chocolate fountain at our church growth group, a birthday meal with family, Graham’s 7th birthday, a trip to the Oregon Zoo, hosting book club, and pumpkin carving! The whole month feels like one adventure after the next. It’s been a bit of a pace – keeping up with all the good times. I love all the activities of October, but I also look forward to the hibernation vibes of November. We’ve had an unseasonably warm and sunny October. It’s been perfect for adventuring! Now the rain moves in this week and I’m honestly ready for it. Give me a reason to hunker down at home. I’m all for it!!!

Chocolate fountain at church! Then the kids got to bounce off their energy in the bounce houses.
Celebrating a belated birthday for Papa and an early birthday for Graham!
Graham started his birthday with a candle and a song!
Birthday candle and song – take two!
Mountain goats at the Oregon Zoo
Still not too old for the zoo train
I loved sharing cookies, cider, and books on Friday night. It was my turn to host book club and I went for all the fall vibes!
Owen’s Bowser pumpkin! This year we carved our homegrown pumpkins. Owen and I helped clean out the pumpkins, but Jeremy was the MVP who did all the carving magic!
Graham’s Goomba! Graham supervised most of the pumpkin carving, but wasn’t into getting his hands dirty.
 

First Co-Op Field Trip October 15, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 5:24 pm

We had our first co-op field trip this last week. We visited the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery in Salkum, WA. It was super educational. I was surprised by how hands-on and informational it was. I’m not sure what I expected, but it surpassed my apparently low-bar expectations. We started the experience by watching the salmon get sorted at the top of the fish ladder. All the kids who wanted to participate got to help sort the salmon. Owen loved the experience and declared he could see himself sorting salmon when he grows up. Graham did not want to sort the salmon. That’s okay, too.

After sorting the salmon, we learned about the complete lifecycle of a salmon. From there, we went to feed the fry, which I learned are small salmon. The kids got to grab a handful of fish food and toss it into the tank. All the fry made the water splash as they gobbled up their meal. We all reacted to the feeding frenzy. I didn’t watch the last part of the presentation too closely. There is a viewing window in the visitor center where you can watch the employees harvest the eggs of the spawning salmon. This process was explained very well and the kids were fascinated. I just didn’t need the visual!

We played around with the visitor center displays for a while after the tour ended. Soon, it was lunchtime and part of our group made our way down to the river shore to eat sack lunches on logs. The kids wrapped up our field trip by throwing all sorts of rocks and sticks into the river. Nothing quite like being kid – throwing rocks into the river on a sunny day. Life is full of simple pleasures.

Field trips are one of my favorite parts of homeschooling. I love adventuring with my boys. We all learned so much at the salmon hatchery. It was an unforgettable experience. The rest of our week has been quieter. The boys combined their birthday money to buy the biggest LEGO set they’ve ever had. 1,216 pieces. It took them about 24 hours to complete it (with sleep in the middle, obviously). They are so proud of themselves! We had friends over for tacos last night. I attended a baby shower today. Tomorrow we’ll do a chocolate fountain and inflatbles with our church growth group. We are thankful for friends, community, field trips, and October sunshine!

Owen the Salmon Sorter!
Graham would only touch the plastic salmon…
A scenic lunch spot
So excited for the biggest LEGO set they’ve ever built!
Castle complete!
 

Birthday Month! October 2, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 6:45 pm

Birthday month is here! Our boys will turn 7 and 9 in October. We kicked off birthday month with a day full of family celebrations. We had brunch with my family and dinner with Jeremy’s family yesterday. I’m so thankful for our families. They loved on our boys and made them feel special! I also love having a combined birthday party at the beginning of the month. It’s an exciting way to start birthday month. On our boys’ actual birthdays, they will get to choose an activity for us to do as a family. More celebrating is still to come!

This weekend was BIG, so we had a fairly chill week to prepare. We visited my friend, Christa, on Monday. She offered to let me borrow her bike this month, but sadly it didn’t fit in my van. She passed along her scooter instead which started a new scooter obsession with the boys. We love visiting Christa and walking her neighbor together. She has a cool neighborhood lake and a great view of the mainline of the train tracks.

On Tuesday, Owen started something new! He is now taking piano lessons from Nana. He has had one lesson and has been diligent to practice every day. As a homeschool mom, I struggle to teach music as a part of our curriculum (since I’m not musical). I’m so glad Owen is getting this opportunity (thank you, Nana). The boys have also started kid’s choir at church on Sundays. We’ve been listening to our practice CD non-stop in preparation for the December performance. I love the musical opportunities we have this fall!

Before running birthday errands, we visited the corn maze on Friday. We got there right when it opened and we had the whole maze to ourselves! The kids had a blast and didn’t want to leave. I love getting outside and adventuring as a family. I don’t follow the corn maze map every well, but Jeremy has an excellent sense of direction. I just happily follow along, getting my steps in and enjoying the outing.

We spent part of today recovering from the big birthday extravaganza yesterday. After kids choir, the boys came from home from church to play with their new gifts. I used the time to do some chores around the house. After a restful afternoon, we took off for a church skate party. This was the boys’ first time on roller skates. I opted to watch from the side. I was a little worried about injuring myself! We had a great turn out from the church and I was super proud of the boys from trying something new.

October has been a blast so far! We are looking forward to all the family fun this fall has to offer. Birthday month is always special and feels like one big month long celebration!

Starting something new! Owen is learning to play the piano.
Rutledge Corn Maze
Rutledge Corn Maze
Rutledge Corn Maze
A Super Mario Birthday for these boys!
Doughnuts for brunch!
Cake and cinnamon rolls after dinner
I’m a big fan of theme parties! Love adding all the Mario details to their party.
First time on skates!
Skate mates for the win!
I made it out for the hokey pokey
 

Sailing Through September September 24, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Travels,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 3:46 pm

We are swiftly sailing through September. The month has disappeared in what feels like a blink. I’m not used to the pace we’ve been keeping. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that the last week of September is upon us. The good news is October is my favorite month and it’s full of fun. While I’m baffled that September is almost over, I’m very happy to welcome October soon! Autumn adventures are the best and now I can fully revel in all that is fall!

My last post found us in the thick of hunting season for Jeremy (and the boys) and a conference for me. Prepping for a conference with Jeremy out in the woods wasn’t always ideal. Thankfully, Jeremy had the boys with him a few times so I could practice for my workshop without kid chaos in the background. The boys love tagging along during hunting season. While I had girl time during the conference, they had boy time in the woods. Win-win.

The day after the conference, Jeremy and I dropped the boys off with Nana & Papa so we could attend a staff retreat with the church team. The turnaround of conference prep, attending the conference, packing for a trip (for the kids and myself), and curating school (so Nana could substitute teach) meant I came into the retreat worn out. Fortunately, there was plenty of time for this introvert to recharge in the schedule. It was a good mix of conversation and connection while still finding time to be quiet with a book and journal. My highlights were our conversations about the Enneagram (which I adore), our rides on the golf carts to and from meals, and taking morning walks with the sun shining on the Columbia River.

We got home on Wednesday and I had Thursday set aside as a recovery day. We still did school, but the rest of the day was very chill. Jeremy took the boys out for the final evening hunt of elk season. I was able to recharge enough on Thursday so we could adventure out on Friday. We met some friends at the Ape Caves yesterday for some spelunking. We hiked our way through the more challenging cave and did another hike at Lava Canyon. I didn’t feel it yesterday, but I can tell today I climbed over boulders yesterday. It was a very fun outing and I got a chuckle that on a beautifully sunny day, we went underground for our recreation.

September sure has kept us busy. It’s been good, but I’m tired! I’ve been able to rest more today. A quiet home day is doing wonders for my soul. It’s the small things like working through the laundry, making mac & cheese, and sitting down with a book that fills me up. God has been so good to sustain me through this non-stop month. I’m certainly ready for things to slow down a bit!

Hunting buddies! I love the memories they are making out in the woods.
Sunset golf cart ride to dinner!
Not a bad view for my morning walk!
Afternoon free time means introvert recharge time. Nothing like reading a book surrounded by pillows on a comfy bed.
Ready to explore the Ape Caves
Going down…
Exploring inside the cave
Caves might not ever be my happy place, but they are cool!
Hiking aboveground is more my style!
Not a bad view of Mt. St. Helens
 

September Snapshots September 17, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 6:02 pm

Today’s blog will be more pictures than words. I just got home from a women’s conference at our church. It was a Friday night and most of the day Saturday event. I led a workshop this morning based on the book Habits of the Household by Justin Whitmel Earley. I don’t get many opportunities for public speaking so studying and practicing my notes was a big portion of my week. Now that it’s done and the adrenaline rush is over, I can feel the crash coming. Thus, a post of mostly pictures! A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Right!

Constantly being left in the dust now that these two are always on their new bikes!
My parents were on a trip this week so the boys and I checked on their dog and watered the plants while Auntie (the house-sitter) was at work. The kids loved their daily doggie duty. As you can see, TC just patiently put up with us.
Chess with co-op has started! In PE, Graham got 2nd place in the mile run. The boys love co-op and can’t wait to go back next week!
We took home Junior Ranger books from Fort Clatsop in August. We completed them and the park ranger mailed our boys their badges. We love the Junior Ranger program!
MILESTONE! Graham lost his first tooth this week. I was starting to get nervous since he is almost 7. This experience was even more memorable because he accidentally swallowed it while eating his cereal. Oops! The tooth fairy was very understanding, though.
‘Tis the season to dress like a tree! Jeremy has been out elk hunting all week. The boys got to join him Thursday evening and today!
No need to visit the pumpkin patch. Jeremy grew our pumpkins this year! They are so beautiful!
I didn’t take any pictures at the conference, but here are my cookies that I decorated in the afternoon workshop. YUM! Love the fall colors!